Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, And the Women Who Made America Modern by Joshua Zeitz

When reading this book I was shocked at the amount of people that asked me, "What is a Flapper?" It wasn't just people in their twenties that had no idea what a Flapper was but people in their late forties as well.

The Flapper defined a generation and helped steer women away from uncomfortable and more times than not hazardous corsets. They also paved the way for women's rights, doing away with the Victorian mindset and pulling America towards a more modern time where women acted just like their male counterparts.

The book focuses on many of the individuals that helped define the flapper. The most popular being Zelda Fitzgerald, wife to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the writer most known for his novel The Great Gatsby. He is even credited for inventing the flapper, as his stories included rebellious woman who he based solely on one person, his wife, the ultimate flapper. It was interesting to read about the beginning of their relationship and how their love for the careless freedom of the era was ultimately the thing that ended them. It's in a way a tragic love story, but a love story nonetheless. And I really enjoyed reading about their rise, fall and their undeniable love for each other.

Lois Long is another person that this book focuses on. She was a young twenty something journalist who worked for the New Yorker and became famous with her column about New York nightlife. She partied at the speakeasies, drinking through the night, sometimes even showing up to work drunk, in the same clothes she wore out the previous night. Girls all over read about her exploitations and wanted to be her or at least be part of the scene that she glorified in her writing.

Hollywood helped put the Flapper on screen, first with Colleen Moore than with Clara Bow. With their dark bobs and shorter hemlines they brought to life the women that until that point were only imagined from magazine articles and advertisements. Both stories are interesting especially the time in which they were stars and the time after.

If you are interested in the time period and the people that defined it, I would highly recommend this book. While it took me some time to read, every time I picked it up I was captivated by the stories of these remarkable people.


  1. I never heard of a Flapper. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sometimes history can be boring, but the flapper is far from boring. I'm happy to have introduced them to you.